Well to be honest I’d hoped this update would be one full of hope and joy. Alas it’s not.
In November last year, Councillor Fraser McAllister got in touch with me and actually emailed me quite a lot to keep me up to date as he pushed to get the cycle path repaired. At that time he told me that a new power line would be put down which would power the lights.
Unfortunately that was the last I heard of it.
Since then, Aris Wilson from Gavin Brown MSP’s office got in touch to say that the council had decided that this work would be too costly and instead the solar panel batteries would be replaced and boxes repair by the end of April 2015.
The lighting in question is solar-powered and does not have a permanent electrical supply. This was regarded as appropriate for the location and tied in with the low-carbon agenda promoted throughout the design and construction of the University itself. It was also acknowledged at the time that an opportunity to make the electrical supply permanent would come forward as part of the completion of the junction into the university and adjacent land allocated for business use.
Unfortunately, the junction has not been completed and the solar fittings, particularly the batteries, have been the subject of repeated vandalism and theft to the extent that maintenance costs have been considerable since the lighting was introduced. It is estimated that to provide a permanent electrical supply to these lamps alone would cost approximately £167,000, an amount which we are unable to justify in the current financial climate. I have however authorised expenditure of approximately £17,000 on replacement batteries and fittings and would expect this work to be completed by April 2015.
You’ve guessed it – this hasn’t been done either.
To say I’m disappointed is an understatement, however it has served as useful tool allowing me to re-evaluate my pensions and life insurance knowing that the value of a person’s life is only £17,000. I obviously thought too much of myself.
Obviously I am being flippant, however this does go to show how low on the agenda active travel is in East Lothian – unless of course it’s school children in a nice safe group at school which always makes for a fantastic publicity photo.